Avoid looking stupid when self publishing: use the correct page order.

One significant area of confusion we find amongst people who come to us to print their self published book concerns the correct page order, particularly at the beginning of the book.

There is a “bible” which anyone who does a lot of writing should have on their shelves. It is the “Style manual: for authors, editors and printers” (paperback) ISBN: 978 0 7016 3648 7. Amongst the gold mine of information in this book, the correct page order for books is clearly set out. The page order in the Style Manual is aimed mainly at authors of Commonwealth publications, so some of it is irrelevant for self publishers. I have edited the list below in the Style Manual to remove any unnecessary information.

We strongly recommend that anyone self publishing a book should adhere to these conventions. There is nothing like making stupid mistakes in areas such as this to destroy your credibility with a knowledgable reader.

Most books and some booklets will have preliminary matter, which might include some or all of the following. The order laid out below is the correct order.

Title Page (right hand page)
Reverse of title page (copyright etc.)
Foreword (start on next right hand page)
Contents (start on next right hand page)
List of illustrations and tables (can follow on from Contents or start on the next right hand page)
Preface (start on next right hand page)
Acknowledgements (start on next right hand page)
Introduction (start on next right hand page)
Text (start on next right hand page after Introduction)
Appendixes (start on first right hand page after text)
Reference list, endnotes or bibliography (start on first right hand page after Appendixes)
Index (start of first right hand page after references etc.)

Should new chapters always begin on a right hand page? The rule of thumb we use is that for novels, which often have chapters of just a page or two, start new chapters on the next available page — left or right. For non-fiction books, especially those with fewer chapters, always begin new chapters on a right hand page.